Generally, clean beauty mainly refers to skincare or make-up items containing natural, non-animal ingredients (from flowers, plants and herbs) and no potentially hazardous substances. But there is still a lot of discussion as to what such hazardous ingredients are, and what makes an ingredient ‘natural’. So, it just isn’t enough to look for a brand that markets itself as free from chemicals. Because those are just empty words: all ingredients, natural and non-natural, are chemical. And there are a lot of misconceptions about ingredients like parabens, sulfates and silicones – which are often listed as substances that don’t belong within clean beauty. For example, many people don’t know that ‘silicones’ is a collective term for a group of raw materials that have been used extensively in the beauty industry since the 1950’s. Silicones don’t grow on trees, but they definitely originate from a very common natural material: sand. On the other hand, not every natural ingredient is harmless. Think of palm oil for example: a natural and commonly used ingredient, but its large-scale use is contributing to the deforestation of the rain forests.